The Eagles have spent the last few years stocking their defensive line with pass rushers, particularly at DE. They drafted Brandon Graham & Vinny Curry, signed Jason Babin and extended Trent Cole. This begs the question, how will these snaps be divided?
There's some things we know. Trent Cole can play effectively on any down. He's one of the most productive pass rushers over the last 3 years in the league as well as one of the best run stoppers. Jason Babin, while being a phenomenally productive pass rusher(more on that in a sec), leaves a bit to be desired in the run department.
By Pro Football Focus' measure, Jason Babin is the third most productive pass rusher in the league over the past 3 years. They simply took the amount of pass rush snaps a guy was on the field for and compared it to the number of sacks, hits & hurries he compiled. Babin generated pressure on over 15% of the pass rush snaps he took. Trent Cole, by the way is 7th on the list and played around 400 more pass rush snaps than Babin. He is a machine.
Compare that to a guy like Jared Allen, who led the league in sacks last year (Babin was 3rd). He's recorded 1,638 pass rush snaps over the past 3 seasons and generated 195 sacks, hits & hurries. Babin has had 932 pass rush snaps and generated 145 pressures. So Allen had only 50 more pressures in 706 more snaps.
Point is, Babin doesn't need to play every down to get pressure. He can be situational pass rusher here, which would play to his strengths without really sacrificing much, if any of his sacks.
This brings me to my dream scenario for this season. We haven't really seen enough of Brandon Graham at this level to tell what kind of player he'll be, but in college he was a fantastic run stopper. In fact, he led the nation in tackles for a loss while also being no slouch as a pass rusher. So ideally, if he's healthy and back in form I'd love to see him take over as the starter out of camp. He should be the guy in there on 1st downs and most any other obvious run situation. I could see him and Babin nearly splitting snaps evenly and the Eagles being better off for it. Not only are you putting guys in positions of strength, but also keeping them fresher.